Schedule & Advisory
Individual Attention & A Smart Pace
PCDS is committed to the personal and academic wellness of each of its students. By leveraging a robust advisory program with a student-centered schedule, the Middle and Upper Schools at PCDS are able to ensure that every student is engaged, supported, and has every opportunity to thrive on campus.
For all students in grades 5-12, PCDS utilizes a block schedule. Students take four, 75-minute classes per day, with significant breaks in between each class. The 75-minute classes allow for teachers to utilize multiple teaching strategies, from lecture or group work, to guided practice, different media, and more to engage the different learning styles of the students in the classroom. In short, our teaching and learning emphasizes depth of understanding, deep questions and conversations, and demonstration of mastery, rather than superficial memorization.
Breaks between classes are meaningful and substantive-- Morning Meeting, advisory, Senior Speeches, or just a chance to grab a snack and chat with some friends allow for appropriate mental breaks in between demanding courses.
Additionally, home work and academic planning is manageable with four courses per day. On most days, Upper School students will have a "free period" within their schedule, allowing for an extended amount of time to work on homework or meet with a teacher for support. Because of the schedule's rotation of classes, students typically have a full school day between class meetings to manage their homework or preparation for the following class period.
In the Upper School, every student is placed in an advisory group, consisting of approximately ten other students and one advisor, a faculty member entrusted to support the students' PCDS experiences both in and out of the classroom. Advisories are multi-aged, allowing younger students to learn from older students' experiences and approaches to the many twists and turns of high school. Advisories meet at a dedicated time once per week, and informal, individual conversations occur frequently outside of this time-- whether simply to touch base, or to address a personal or academic challenge facing the student.
Advisors maintain a macro-viewpoint on each advisee's academic progress, regularly gathering information and updates from the student's teachers and serving as an advocate on the advisee's behalf when any issues arise. Advisors also assist the student in course-selection each spring and provide formal written feedback to the student and his/her parents twice yearly.
The daily academic schedule features four class periods, extended breaks, and an early dismissal on Fridays.